During the show’s original testing, test audience members did not respond well to the character of Mary Ann (who was originally named Bunny and was a secretary). The writers changed the character to a “girl next door” type and auditioned the young Raquel Welch. Sadly for Welch, she was deemed “too sexy” for the show.
Schwartz wanted to keep the show going, with the characters moving in together to the same neighborhood. Sadly, CBS president Jim Aubrey didn’t really like the idea.
During the filming of the pilot episode at the Honolulu Harbor, news came over the radio the JFK has been shot in Dallas. When Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn as the President, he ordered every military installation to be shut down. Because they could not film at the harbor, the producers decided to close shop for several days. If you look carefully in the opening credits, you can see the American flag flying half-mast.
When show’s head writer attended college, he was inspired by 2 simple questions: What would you take with you to a deserted island? and why? According to him, he was fascinated by the idea of watching people communicate and exchange goods in a tiny environment. The way you live your life is ruled by politics, but what happens when all the old rules are thrown out the window and you must find new ones? That’s how “Gilligan’s Island” was born.
During the initial contract signing on the show, Wells asked for profits from the show’s eventual syndicated re-runs. At the time, no one really knew what syndication was, so the producers accepted her contract, thinking that there wouldn’t be anything to it. That little trick made her millions, while the rest of cast got nothing.